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Is Microdermabrasion the Healthiest Option for Skin?

Last updated: May 27, 2022

If you go to your local spa or dermatologist, there are numerous skincare treatment options to choose from. It can be overwhelming to decide which is best, especially since everyone’s skin is different and may react differently to various treatments. Below is a helpful guide for some of the most common treatments that aim to improve skin health and appearance while reversing the effects of aging.

What Happens to Skin as We Age?

Every 30 days, the skin naturally sheds dead skin cells. However, as we grow older, this cell regeneration naturally slows down. As a result, dead skin calls can pile up, making the skin look dull and dry. People may notice fine lines on their skin, or that their makeup no longer sits as nicely. Aging also causes the skin to become thinner as it loses collagen and elastic, so it may not have the same youthful, plump appearance. Veins and bones are seen more easily and wrinkles start to develop. While this is a natural process, external factors such as sun damage from ultraviolet (UV) light, poor diet, and unhealthy lifestyle behaviors such as smoking can greatly affect the skin’s appearance.

Maintaining healthy skin can be done naturally through a diet rich in nutrients and antioxidants, exercise, proper hydration, high-quality sleep, and by reducing stress. In addition to these lifestyle choices, there are plenty of skin treatments available to help restore a youthful, healthy look.

Treatments for Healthier Skin: Which is Best?


Microdermabrasion uses a lightly abrasive instrument to gently exfoliate skin. This tool removes a thick, uneven layer of dead skin from the face to stimulate growth of a fresh new layer of skin.

Microdermabrasion is especially effective in treating acne scars, the appearance of stretch marks, sun damage, and enlarged pores. It can also remove skin impurities, such as age spots and blackheads.

Microdermabrasion helps to thicken collagen by encouraging epidermal cell growth. It’s one of the best treatments available because there’s no risk for scarring or infection, is entirely painless, and only takes about an hour. It has highly effective results with rapid recovery, and can be done on all skin shades and complexions. Microdermabrasion (along with other intensive skincare treatments), however, is not recommended for pregnant women or teenagers, as these two demographics have increased sensitivity to the skin that can cause irritation and breakouts.


There are many exfoliation products on the market, some which are more abrasive than others. Exfoliation involves the process of removing dead skin cells from the skin’s surface using a cleansing scrub, chemical compounds, or exfoliation tool (such as loofahs or pumice stones). Exfoliation is great for removing the top layer of dead skin cells and clearing clogged pores, however, it’s a less effective option compared to microdermabrasion. If you’re choosing between exfoliation vs microdermabrasion and want healthier skin, microdermabrasion is your best bet, since it encourages new cell growth, while exfoliation does not. Exfoliation can still help your skin look brighter and help prevent clogged pores, but it won’t go as deep as microdermabrasion.


Microneedling is a more intensive cosmetic procedure. During this treatment, a dermatologist or esthetician will prick the skin with tiny sterilized needles to encourage collagen and elastic production. The small pricks kickstart the healing process in the skin and only takes about 10 minutes per session.

While microneedling is effective, the healing process takes time and can initially leave redness and peeling. When deciding between microdermabrasion vs microneedling, it depends on the intensity of treatment you’re looking for. If you’re not good with needles and don’t want to deal with light bleeding and redness, microdermabrasion is a safer, painless procedure. Microdermabrasion can also be done in a single session, while microneedling takes 4-6 sessions. Still, microneedling goes deeper and acts just below the skin, so it can have more long-lasting, visible results compared to microdermabrasion.


Facials are a relaxing skin treatment that involves steaming, exfoliation, and extracting blackheads/whiteheads. Each spa has their own unique way of doing facials, and there may be other steps such as toner, hydration treatment, the high-frequency machine, or face masks. It’s a great routine for people looking for quick results for healthier, cleaner looking skin. It likely won’t penetrate the deep layers of skin like microdermabrasion or microneedling, but it can leave skin feeling smooth and hydrated. Hydrafacials can also penetrate pores to get rid of sebum and leftover makeup.


Dermaplaning is a painless procedure that uses a small scalpel to exfoliate skin, remove dirt, and get rid of vellus hair, also known as “peach fuzz”. It leaves skin feeling smooth and soft, and you’ll notice a brighter appearance thanks to the removal of dirt, hair, and dry skin. Negative side effects, however, include breakouts and irritation since removing a lot of fine hairs exposes the skin. When considering microdermabrasion vs dermaplaning, both are great at removing dead skin and dirt. However, microdermabrasion will penetrate the skin deeper and does not remove peach fuzz.


If you need something gentler on your skin with top-notch exfoliation, dermalinfusion is great for sensitive skin types. The process involves a handheld buffing device that exfoliates skin, removes dry and dead skin cells, and cleans up impurities. You’ll have glowing, hydrated skin that feels fresh and evenly toned. If you want dermalinfusion vs microdermabrasion, it's a great choice if you have an event such as a wedding or photoshoot around the corner, since results are immediate.


Does microdermabrasion hurt?

No, microdermabrasion is a completely painless procedure. The treatment uses a minimally abrasive tool to softly sand the top layer of skin and remove dead, dry skin cells. You may feel some light scratching, but it doesn’t involve needles or any invasive tools.

What is crystal microdermabrasion?

Crystal microdermabrasion uses a hand-held device that sprays a fine stream of aluminum oxide crystals into the skin. The crystals (very hard minerals) act as an abrasive agent against the skin, and their irregular crystal shapes gets hard to reach crevices, like wrinkles and fine lines. The crystals are non-toxic and do not cause any allergic reaction. Crystral microdermabrasion vs diamond propels hard minerals, while the latter uses a wand with a diamond tip.

What’s the difference between microdermabrasion vs chemical peel?

A chemical peel uses a chemical solution rather than a hand-held device to remove the top layers of dead skin. The peels can be light or medium, and they require more healing time than microdermabrasion.

What’s the difference between microdermabrasion vs facial?

While facials are great for relaxation and cleaner skin, microdermabrasion is more effective at getting rid of dead skin cells and encouraging new cell growth. Facials involve more steps for a full spa treatment, while microdermabrasion uses a single process with one tool.

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